Selected Events (05/10) + Today’s Featured Pub (Midtown West)

Today’s Sweet 6 > TUESDAY / MAY 10, 2016

“We search the internet everyday looking for the very best of What’s Happening, primarily on Manhattan’s WestSide, so that you don’t have to.” We make it as easy as 1-2-3.
(click on links for more complete event info.)

Have time for only one event today? Do This:

New York City Ballet (through May 29)
NYS/DHK Theater, Lincoln Center / 8PM, $30+
“This week, City Ballet introduces two programs honoring its founding fathers: “All Balanchine” comprises “Ballo della Regina,” “Kammermusik No. 2” and “Vienna Waltzes” (Friday, Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday); “All Robbins” features “Dances at a Gathering” and “West Side Story Suite” (Wednesday). The weekend brings encores of recent premieres, including Justin Peck’s “The Most Incredible Thing” (Saturday matinee) and “Belles-Lettres,” which joins “American Rhapsody” by Christopher Wheeldon and “Mothership,” Nicholas Blanc’s choreographic debut for the company, on Saturday evening.” (NYT-Schaefer and Burke)
Tuesdays through Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 2 and 8 p.m.; Sundays at 3 p.m.

Music, Dance, Performing Arts
Jose James (thru May 15)
Blue Note, 131 W3rd St./ 8PM, +10:30PM, $30, $45
The singer James has more of a signature style than a singularly identifiable musical identity, but that may be just fine in an era that rewards open-eared eclecticism. While his most recent album, “Yesterday I Had the Blues,” was a highly personalized tribute to Billie Holiday, don’t assume that jazz is the path James is sticking to—he’s surprised us before.” (NewYorker)

BossaBrasil: Leny Andrade with Roni Ben-Hur Trio (through May 14)
Birdland, 315 West 44th St/./ 8:30PM +11PM, $
“Ms. Andrade, from Rio de Janeiro, specializes in the assertive buoyancy of samba jazz, singing in a deep cry over crisp accompaniment. Headlining this year’s BossaBrasil festival, she works with a trio led by the guitarist Roni Ben-Hur, drawing partly from their recent album together, “Alegria De Viver.” (Chinen-NYT)

Smart Stuff / Other
(Lectures, Discussions, Book Talks, Literary Readings, Classes, Food & Drink, Other

Kosher USA: How Coke Became Kosher and Other Tales of Modern Food
with Roger Horowitz, a food historian and Director of the Center for the History of Business, Technology, and Society at the Hagley Museum and Library.
NYPL, Mid-Manhattan branch, / 6:30PM, FREE
“This illustrated lecture follows the fascinating journey of kosher food through the modern industrial food system. It recounts how iconic products such as Coca-Cola and Jell-O tried to become kosher; the contentious debates among rabbis over the incorporation of modern science into Jewish law; how Manischewitz wine became the first kosher product to win over non-Jewish consumers (principally African Americans); the techniques used by Orthodox rabbinical organizations to embed kosher requirements into food manufacturing; and the difficulties encountered by kosher meat and other kosher foods that fell outside the American culinary consensus.”

New York African Film Festival (LAST DAY)
Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, 65th St (btw B’way/Amsterdam) / various times, $14
“This 23rd edition opened Wednesday at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. The festival is part of a monthlong focus on African cinema that continues May 13 to 15 at the Maysles Cinema in Harlem. On May 18, the Brooklyn Academy of Music opens the theatrical revival of Ousmane Sembène’s pioneering 1966 film “Black Girl.” The month closes with the companion “FilmAfrica” series, also at BAM.” (WSJ)

Free Ice Cream Cone Day
Participating Häagen-Dazs Shops / 4PM -8PM.
“Häagen-Dazs will give away free one-scoop ice cream cones to guests for their annual free-cone day. There will also be prizes for fans who participate in the shop’s “ice cream social” on Twitter. To find the closest participating location, scope out the Häagen-Dazs web site.” (VillageVoice)

Elsewhere, but this looks worth the detour:
A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, from Tahrir Square to ISIS
Merrill House, Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs, 170 E64th St./ 6PM,
“Mr. Worth, a contributor to The New York Times Magazine and former Beirut bureau chief for The New York Times, discusses his book “A Rage for Order: The Middle East in Turmoil, From Tahrir Square to ISIS,” which begins in 2011 with the upheaval of the Arab Spring and follows the recent history of utopian aspirations gone awry. He will speak with Roger Cohen, an opinion columnist for The International New York Times.” (NYT-SpareTimes)

BONUS: Let’s not forget one for this hometown boy:
“I Love the Bronx”  Bronx Week (May 6-15)
various locations and times; various prices
“Celebrate the Boogie Down with 11 days of fun activities. Take a trolley tour, paddle on the Bronx River, hear some stand-up and much more at this annual festival.” (TONY)

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Bonus – Jazz Venues:
Many consider NYCity the Jazz capital of the world. Here are my favorite Jazz clubs, all on Manhattan’s WestSide. Check out who is playing tonight:

Greenwich Village (all six are within walking distance of each other):
Village Vanguard – 178 7th Ave. South, villagevanguard.com, 212-255-4037
Blue Note – 131 W3rd St. nr 6th ave. bluenotejazz.com, 212-475-8592
55 Bar – basement @55 Christopher St. nr 7th ave.S. 55bar.com, 212-929-9883
Mezzrow – basement @ 163 W10th St. nr 7th Ave. mezzrow.com,646-476-4346
Smalls – basement @ 183 W10th St. smallslive.com, 646-476-4346
Cornelia Street Cafe – 29 Cornelia St. corneliastreetcafe.com, 212-989-9319

Outside Greenwich Village:
Dizzy’s Club – Broadway @ 60th St. — jazz.org/dizzys / 212-258-9595
Birdland – 315 W44th St.(btw 8/9ave) — birdlandjazz.com / 212-581-3080
Smoke Jazz Club – 2751 Broadway nr.106th St. — smokejazz.com / 212-864-6662

Special Mention:
Caffe Vivaldi – 32 Jones St. nr Bleecker St. — caffevivaldi.com / 212-691-7538
a classic, old jazz club in the Village, Caffe V often surprises with a wonderfully eclectic lineup. It’s my favorite spot for an evening of listening enjoyment and discovery.

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♦ Before making final plans, we suggest you call the venue to confirm ticket availability, dates and times, as schedules are subject to change.
♦ NYCity, with a population of  8.5 million, had a record 58 million visitors last year and was TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice Top U.S. Destination for 2016.  Quality shows draw crowds.
Try to reserve seats in advance, even if just on day of performance.
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A PremierPub / Midtown West.

Russian Vodka Room / 265 W 52nd St (btw 7th/8th ave)

Sure, you could travel to Minsk or even Brighton Beach, for an authentic Russian experience, but why bother. On those days when you feel you must wash down your dish of kasha with a few glasses of icy, cold vodka, the Russian Vodka Room will definitely satisfy your urge.

From the outside this place looks a bit drab, and with no windows, a bit mysterious. Midtown tourists walk right by on their way to see “Jersey Boys,” just down the block.

lThose in the know enter a secret hideaway, a dimly lit front room with soft jazz playing – a perfect spot for an illicit late-night rendezvous, or maybe a meet-up with your Russian spy handler, but that’s later in the evening. Early in the evening the large U-shaped bar fills with the after work happy hour crowd, a group made very happy by the much reduced prices.

Their website says: “Welcome Comrades”. Of course, this welcome focuses on dozens of different vodkas, including their own special infusions, which marinate in giant, clear glass jugs visible around the room. The large vodka martinis ensure that you won’t confuse this place with your mother’s Russian Tea Room.

But man does not live by vodka alone. Eat some food, especially the tapa like appetizers. Be decadent and try the cheese blintzes with chocolate, or try a main dish like beef stroganoff with kasha.

Your best bet is to go on a night when the piano man is playing. This guy, who looks like he has eaten a lot of those cheese blintzes, plays five nights a week from 7 to 12 (no Mondays and Thursdays). When the piano man is playing American pop tunes, and you are at the crowded, dimly lit bar testing the horseradish infused vodka, that’s when the RVR shines.

It’s the kind of place where the noise gets louder and the crowd gets happier as the happy hour goes on. I’m generally a beer guy, but I like to come here with a group of friends. We find a table in the back room near the piano man; we eat, and we drink vodka ‘till it hurts (and it will hurt).
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Website: http://www.russianvodkaroom.com/
Phone #: 212-307-5835
Hours: 4pm-2am; Fri-Sun closes 4am (that could be trouble)
Happy Hour: 4-7pm every day
$4 shots infused vodka (2oz), $5 cosmos; $4 czech draft beer
Music: FR-SU; TU-WE / 7pm-12am
Subway: #1 to 50th St.
Walk 2 blk N. on B’way to 52nd St.; 1 blk W. to RVR
Confusingly, the Russian Samovar is right across the street, on the S. side of 52nd St.
The RVR, your destination, is on the N. side of 52nd St.
Update: music now includes a sax player with a younger, trimmer piano man. “Tiny” we miss you.

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“Pub” is used in it’s broadest sense – bars, bar/restaurants, jazz clubs, wine bars, tapas bars, craft beer bars, dive bars, cocktail lounges, and of course, pubs – just about anyplace you can get a drink without a cover charge (except for certain jazz clubs).
If you have a fave premier pub or good eating place on Manhattan’s WestSide let us all know about it – leave a comment.

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This week’s fave and FREE NYCity AppS: 
Trip Advisor
An enormous base of NYCity user reviews (2.1 million) provides the widest coverage of hotels (468), restaurants (12,645) and things to do (yes, 3,246). Have a specific question? Then try one of Trip Advisor’s forums. Just remember that with all those reviews you have to try to find the consistency among the comments, and ignore the outliers.

OpenTable
Instantly locate restaurants near you with open reservations and then place a reservation right from your iOS device. A great interface and the ability to see a menu from the restaurant you’re interested in makes this my go to restaurant reservation app.

Subway Time 
Need to catch your #1,2,3 subway to attend an event? Use the Subway Time app from the MTA to find out when the next train arrives at your station. The MTA also has Bus Time info available on their mobile website.
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